LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears security coach Andre Curtis watched as Mac Jones’ cross hung within the air Monday night time earlier than his eyes settled on secure Jaquan Brisker. For a second, Curtis thought the freshman misjudged his try to play the ball.
Brisker jumped and reached his proper hand as excessive because it may go, catching a one-handed interception that was the primary of his profession.
“You rarely see it that way,” Curtis mentioned.
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Brisker’s teammates watched in awe, and a minimum of one felt reminded of one other well-known one-handed catch.
“I’m not going to lie, I was like, ‘Oh my god, OBJ on defense!'” mentioned Bears rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon. “Call to him. That was a beautiful piece.”
Two quarters later, Gordon got away with his first interception when he cut in front of a pass intended for New England Patriots receiver Tyquan Thornton. Gordon – and several of his teammates – thought he should have scored, but the quick Thornton put him wide on the 10.
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The enter Chicago has obtained from its high rookies has eased some of the doubts about normal supervisor Ryan Poles devoting heavy draft capital to rebuilding the secondary faculty moderately than surrounding quarterback Justin Fields with extra expertise.
The Bears rank third in interceptions (8) and passing yards allowed (180.3) per recreation. The turnaround for one of the worst runners-up within the league a 12 months in the past may be attributed to the contributions of runners-up Brisker (No. 48 general) and Gordon (No. 39 general).
In seven video games, Brisker has conceded 77 yards and nil touchdowns, and has 42 tackles, two sacks, one fumble restoration and one interception.
Brisker has rapidly turn into a key participant in Bear protection.
It was extra of a problem for Gordon. Chicago’s high draft choose rapidly emerged as a nickel beginning nook in coaching camp, a notoriously tough and essential place in coach Matt Eberflus’ protection.
Gordon admittedly struggled early within the season. Without veteran cornerback Jaylon Johnson for 3 video games by way of damage, Gordon needed to play over 99% of snaps on protection for seven weeks.
“We bet on him a lot when we play indoors and outdoors and that takes a lot of mental strength,” mentioned Poles. “Playing against DB in this league in particular is agony. There’s a lot of space to cover so he’s doing well and he’s going to keep improving – I really believe in that.”
In the Bears’ first 5 video games, Gordon allowed 29 receptions on 36 objectives for 397 yards and two touchdowns. In Chicago’s final two video games towards Washington and New England, he had 31 receiving yards on eight objectives, no touchdowns and his first interception.
“He had to flip it himself there and then the return,” mentioned Eberflus. “That worked out well. But that promotes confidence, the ability to take the ball away. I think that’s a big part of winning football.”
The Poles spent three of Chicago’s top five draft picks on defense, and the return is paying off. Earlier this week, the Bears traded defensive end Robert Quinn to Philadelphia for a 2023 fourth-round pick. The confidence the Poles had to pull off that move was rooted in the players he played alongside Quinn for seven games saw, especially Dominique Robinson, who ended on the defensive in the fifth round.
Robinson has included 12 tackles (2 tackles for loss) and has 1.5 sacks in seven games. He tapped a pass thrown by Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth quarter that led to an interception by linebacker Roquan Smith.
Robinson reckons he has a bigger role in Chicago’s rotation of pass rushers now that Quinn is away and has a chance to prove himself like his rookie peers in the secondary school.
“My confidence has grown since I’ve been here,” he said. “I came in during the rookie stuff, a little nervous, but when I saw that I could play with some of these guys I was ‘OK’. And then, as the weeks go by, my confidence keeps building. So keep trying to stack and do what I do best.”